August 31, 2009

Windows Home Server

Wow...another 3 months has passed since my last post. Well, been buzy setting up my new home. Yea, finally moved in on the 4th last month. Anyway, back to the subject, I get to know this Windows Home Server thing few months back, although it's been on the market for quite some times. Looks good and promising, and is available through famous vendors like hp and acer. However, perhaps Microsoft thinks that people from 3rd world country like Malaysia will not need a server at home or it's simply trying to encourage software piracy, those pretty server is not available here although you can download the trial copy from their website and build your own server (more on that later). I have went to a couple of local hp retail outlets and most of the IT shops in Karamunsing, and none of them seems to know about it...

Anyway, since I have downloaded a trial copy few months back, so the only way to try it will be building my own server. Excuse of my PC appearance, it's only a temporary unit. It will have a new casing soon. Hardware used are:

Processor: C2D E4300
Mobo: Abit AW9D
RAM: OCZ 1066 2GB Kit
GPU: GeForce 7300GT
PSU: FSP Group Saga II 500W
Optical Drive: External

Installation was pretty simple although you might need to have your hardware drivers in hand due to the OS is based on Windows Server 2003. So newer hardware drivers will be missing, mine was LAN and GPU drivers, and those mobo chipset drivers.

Connect it to your switch/router, and it will detect all the client PCs automatically, and you then need to download and install a small program (from your newly setup server) onto all the client PCs so that they will be able to login to the server. The little program will put a share folder on all the client PCs too. Neat and simple. One good thing about it, you don't have to be an IT expert to run this thing.

Anyway, after installation and activation (key is available through Microsoft Connect) you will have 120-day evaluation period to play with it. To continue using the product after that, you either find a way to get the OEM installation disc (it's available in, but they don't ship to Malaysia...duh!!), or, be "Matt Farrell". Well, I want to buy the original...but seems like Microsoft just doesn't wanna give a damn. So...

Ok, since it's working good. I went to buy a new casing for it, a CM690 (pretty good for air circulation and ventilation), together with a 1TB HDD to expand the storage. For a normal desktop PC, adding additional HDD means you will add another driver letter, or simply RAID it before you install the OS to make it a single large volume disk.

In Windows Home Server, however, a disk wizard will pop up to help you to decide. In case you just simply want to expand the storage space (for your data), it will automatically help you to merge those drives. So you won't have to remember all your data locations (eg. Picture in drive D, Video in drive E, and adult video in *cough* drive X...*cough*). Just go to drive D and all your files will be in there. As simple as that.

It's temporary sitting on top of my daily/gaming rig for better air circulation and easy for me to access. Naah, it won't fall down by itself, no earthquake anyway...*touch wood*. Oh yea, streaming media to PS3? Playing MKV files with PS3? No worries, just download and install this little program in your server and you will be able to enjoy your collection on your big screen in no time.